July 31st, 2004

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I was reading this advertisement where someone needed to give away their rodents. I don't remember the breed, but it did look vaguely like a gerbil but with a tuft of hair at the end of the tail.

This has me wondering why everyone says their rodent breed of choice is smartest (except guinnea pigs, everyone agrees they are as dumb as rocks)? Chinchila, Rat, Mouse, Nutria, etc., it's always "mine is the smartest." Have scientists ever done IQ tests on these creatures? My experiences with rodents have shown that if they don't poop or pee in their water or food, then they are slightly above average. If they can recognize their owner, they are smart. If they don't eat my speaker cables, they are geniuses.

Maybe my standards for a pet are too high. I've always been interested in snakes, but I would never think of one as a "pet", they are more of a science experiment, seeing them grow and eat. Or fish, which you feed and watch, like a living art display. I think of a pet as something that shows and wants affection, can recognize me, and his happy to see me. Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, etc.

What do you, personally, define as a pet? What pets would you never want, or dream of having, and why?